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ZA - Workers down tools over lay-offs

WORKERS at a local steel company, Pressure Die Casting, who are affiliated to the National Union of Metal Workers in South Africa (Numsa), yesterday downed tools, protesting the alleged unfair retrenchment of 21 employees last month. The union accused the management of dismissing the employees without following proper procedures.

Zakade Mgxashi, a Numsa shop steward at Pressure Die Casting, said the employees who were retrenched found out only when they arrived for their shifts that they had been retrenched. He said the management had never indicated to the union or the employees that the company was in a difficult financial position that would require retrenchments. The employees have sacrificed many benefits to stave off the lay-offs.

“The management came up with a six-point plan, which was supposed to prevent such a drastic step and all the employees complied with that plan,” he said. The plan stipulated that the workers will not be paid their bonuses, they will lose five days of leave, they will not be paid for holidays, overtime will be treated as normal time and the employer will contribute less towards their provident fund.

Mgxashi said the employees made these concessions in good faith and they were shocked to discover that they had been retrenched. He vowed that none of the striking employees will go back to work until the retrenched employees are brought back.

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